Whether it is death-defying stunts onscreen or striking out at the inevitable hate on social media, John Abraham Doesn’t hold back the punches. The hunky star in conversation with Rochelle Fernandez
“There is a difference between self-respect and ego, I don’t have an ego but I have self-respect. If you draw the thin line, you would know when to take the hit and when to hit back,” is what John Abraham believes strongly in. His opinions are as staunch as the guns that he puts on display in every film that he decides to take up. John Abraham is a no-nonsense man and that is the quality that has taken him so far in the business. His love for bikes and action is immense and fact is, he is the only one who can make a boisterous entrance even in a vest and slippers! Now that’s what real men are made of, aren’t they?
Force 2 revolves around a certain attack resulting in the involvement of RAW, amongst others. Unfortunately, the state of the country matches the theme. Was it a conscious decision on any level?
We planned the film a year and a half back and there was no sense of nationalism or being opportunistic. Coincidentally it happened that unfortunately the Uri attacks happened and we have problems now. FORCE 2 has suddenly become a far more relevant film in today’s time.
It was never planned that we would work around a certain attack. We had a script that always fascinated me and Abhinay (Deo, director) and we thought that we should make a film on true stories. So this is an amalgamation of true stories and we created something that we thought was very credible. Having said that, we were very clear on making a commercial film and not just a documentary. FORCE is a hard-core commercial franchise. By the time you would get up to walk out, you would be like, ‘Oh wow! This does make sense’.
What were your expectations from the film?
We felt that no one has expectations and are putting our head down and just doing our work. Nowhere would you hear us proclaiming that FORCE 2 is a fantastic film or we expect this much business. We just wanted to make an honest film and want the audience to accept it. Trust me, I have learnt this the hard way and that is why I just put my head down and only concentrate on working. I do not make any false proclamations and did not want anybody to validate what our film looks like by having a secret screening for five influential people. The audience is the final decision-maker.
You enjoy action in films and do your own stunts in most of your films. Recently you shared a video where you were hurt terribly because of some stunts in the film. In retrospect, is it all worth it?
I don’t have that false sense of bravado and if there is enough safety, then I don’t think there is any harm in doing stunts. Of course, if you are an idiot and the producer is irresponsible, what will happen is that you will get hurt. Those situations may arise but talking about being worth it, when you do your own stunts it is a lot of fun!
Social media didn’t take to the video very well and dissed you in many ways…
Social media does not seem to have a face anymore. Men have stopped being men when it comes to the ones on social media. I feel sorry also and feel that women are more honest than men today. At least men used to fight wars once upon a time and now there is no face that they have.
Have you ever heard of bravery or honesty on the internet? It doesn’t exist. You can be blonde with blue eyes or tall dark handsome… how does it matter? You are unhappy and want to get your angst out. The easiest people to get your angst out on is an actor because we are standing there, ready to be bashed. I didn’t get that video out to get some sympathy but to tell people that we really worked hard on the film and did get injured because it is not a glamorous life.
But what about the safety measures when it comes to stunts in films?
I hope we get safer but right now to be safe what we are doing is employing foreign action directors. We need to understand and start being safe at home. If I am shooting in Mumbai, I need my action directors to understand the technology and the safety measures to protect not just me but more importantly my stuntmen. Action is not about doing two backflips or jumping on a wall like a monkey.
It is the attitude because you are breaking through glass. Most of the time we are not doing it – it is our stuntmen who do it and they go home injured. Do we even ask them what their name is? We need to give them credit and respect. I am speaking about all of this because I love action and it is second nature to me. I will always support that cause.